During every burger week, I try to get at least one of the species I call a "pub burger". A few of my acquaintances look down at pub burgers. But I enjoy the simple, straight forward, unpretentious burgers served at places like Rocky's and Mr Peabody's. When someone tells me these burgers are mediocre, and I admit there are a few that are, or that it tastes like something their Mom would make, I ask, "what's wrong with your Mom's burgers?" And automatically peg them as being unsentimental. My next question would be, if these burgers are so simple, why is it that copycat corporate pub burgers never measure up? Maybe because the burger lacks soul? Or perhaps there's something about a well seasoned grill or griddle, at a joint that has obviously served thousands at varying levels of impairment.... a place like The Waterfront Bar and Grill, around since 1933.
Open from 6am in the morning, just in case you need a few "hairs of the dog", or prefer a full breakfast(yes, this place has a non-liquid breakfast menu) the place always seem to have a few "lounge lizards" occupying the bar.
All of which reaches a crescendo during the "hour of happiness", with the bar packed with everyone from the suits to laborers, and the professional imbibers. The usual Server working here is efficient, funny, and no nonsense. You will provide your ID and credit card for a tab.......
It says quite a lot that the Missus had Her one burger week hamburger at The Waterfront. The Missus chose the Blue Cheese Bacon Burger ($10.25), a half pound burger smothered in melted blue cheese, topped with thick cut bacon(and let's not forget the grilled onions). As if this wasn't enough, it comes with fries.....
The fries are the ever-crisp "floured fries" which delivers what the beer drinker wants, fries that'll stay crisp during the beer session. I'm thinking the Missus really enjoyed this, since She wiped the whole thing out, telling me "ddddisss wizzzz weeely delisssssshhhhis" while finishing up the last bite. Pretty impressive.
I went with The Texas Burger ($8.40), a half pound burger topped with grilled onions, which also comes with fries.
I always enjoyed the grilled onions, it adds a nice savory sweetness to the burger. As for the burger, it is handformed, and not as greasy as I remembered. The patty was decently seasoned with salt and pepper. If anything, it is perhaps pressed too hard when formed, as it is a bit "chewy". The roll is a generic "Acme sesame seed bun".
One of the signs of a classic pub burger, is that the lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles are served on the side. Also, all the various "sauces" are either on the table, or served on the side with the burger..... after all, they've got to keep moving in the kitchen, and don't have the time to dress your burger.... you can have it your way, so long you do it yourself!
Don't even think about a medium rare burger here, they don't. At least I won't be asked how I want my burger done, and have it delivered well done anyway.
Overall, a decent burger, even without cheese, nor any "dressing". No pretense, no fuss, no muss except for trying to keep the fries on your plate. In these days of frou-frou burgers, I find this refreshing.....
The Waterfront Bar and Grill
2044 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
Open 6am to 2am daily